Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Condescension of God - Psalm 138

Psalm 138 is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving for God's care. It is a personal psalm written by a man (David) who saw God's hand in His life and His answers to prayer. David knew God as his God – a God who pays attention to the humble and a God who keeps His promises.

The Glory of God in Answered Prayer (v. 1-3)
The psalm begins with thanksgiving, praise and worship. David worshipped God in several ways – by giving thanks, singing, and by bowing down. He worshipped God inwardly from His heart and expressed himself outwardly. He was not ashamed to worship God in front of others – even kings and the false gods of other nations. But what could cause David to be so full of praise? Nothing less than the faithfulness of God in honouring His Word.

God proves His love and faithfulness and magnifies (i.e. shows the magnificence of) His Word by answering prayer. David called to God and God answered him that very day. David may have felt fearful, but God gave him courage and confidence when he needed it.

What are some of the times you received answers to prayer? Do you remember how God proved His words true to you? How did it make you feel? Always remember those times. The Lord may not always answer immediately, but His timing is perfect, and He will answer when we call, because He has promised: "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer 33:3). And when you see Him answer, you will realise that He always keeps His word.

The Glory of God in His Condescension (v. 4-6)
David expresses confidence that when the kings of the earth hear the words of God, they will praise Him like he did. When they see the greatness of His glory and how it surpasses all earthly glory, they will likewise sing of His ways. When one comes into a personal experience with God, the only response is worship and praise.

God's glory is seen in His condescension (v. 6). Powerful people on earth often pay little or passing attention to those beneath them. But God is not so. He is high and lifted up. His glory and majesty exceeds all earthly kings and powers. But He is a God who regards the humble at heart:
"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isa 66:1,2)
While God regards the lowly and gives grace to the humble, He likewise opposes the proud (Jas 4:6, 1Pe 5:5). He knows them from afar. The proud at heart do not have an audience with God. And God is not only far from them, he strongly opposes them. May we always take care to remain humble because God hates pride.

The Fulfillment of God's Purpose in Our Lives (v. 7-8)
God did not take David out of trouble, but He preserved and strengthened him in his trials. God kept him safe from his enemies and would not allow them to thwart His purposes for David. David understood that God had a purpose for his life, and he was confident of God's ability to fulfill it despite all kinds of trouble and adversity. He knew God was not going to leave him in the lurch, and that no situation was too hard for Him to handle.

The Lord does not always keep trouble away from us, but He promises to be with us through them (Heb 13:5,6) to strengthen and uphold us. God has a purpose to fulfill in each of our lives - even in difficult times. He can and will bring us through. He has promised: "he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phi 1:6).

Take God at His word. Take note of the 3 promises mentioned here (Jer 33:3; Isa 66:1,2; and Heb 13:5,6). Put your trust in them and let God prove Himself true to you.

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